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DOES your Psychiatric Disorder Entitle you to Social Security Disability Income?
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DOES your Psychiatric Disorder Entitle you to Social Security Disability Income?
37 Indispensable Things to Know!
Note: Social Security rules are set by law and, therefore, always subject to change. We cannot guarantee the
accuracy of this information for any point in time and recommend that before applying for disability you always consult with us first through a
phone consultation or another Social Security expert.
1. A psychiatric patient is considered disabled if s/he has an emotional, condition that renders him/her unable to work, considering age,
education and past work history. The condition must have lasted, or be expected to last, one year.
2. A mental or emotional disability is any psychiatric condition that prevents you from working on a regular full-time job for at least
3. As soon as you and your doctors agree that your disability is going to last a full year, you should apply for Social Security
Disability. You are not eligible for Social Security Disability if your psychiatric condition doesn’t last a full year. Therefore, many
patients have to wait to see how their condition develops.
Others, who have been struggling to work in spite of their disability and know the condition is not going away, should apply as soon as
they stop working.
4. When you apply for Social Security Disability, you may get retroactive benefits going back one year. Therefore, if you
apply within that year you will not lose benefits.
In fact, there is a five-month waiting period so you can safely apply without losing benefits up to 17 months after you stop
5. Apply for SSI benefits as soon as you become disabled. Unlike Social Security Disability, there is no retroactivity prior to
your application so the sooner you file the safer you are.
Generally, an SSI application is considered an application for any program for which you might be eligible under your Social Security
If you apply for SSI and by mistake don’t apply for SSD, the SSI will be considered a protective filing date. It is safest to apply for
Generally, the government will accept an application for SSD as an application for SSI as well. It is always safest, however, to apply
for both programs.
6. To be eligible for Social Security Disability, you must not be working, have a psychiatric disability that is expected to last
or has lasted 12 months, and meet the earnings requirements at the time you became disabled.
To meet the earnings requirements, you must have been fully insured (worked most of your life,) as well as having worked five years out
of the last ten when you became disabled. The concepts of fully insured and “specially insured” (5 years out of the last 10) are very complicated
but would be reviewed when we filed your application.
The earnings requirements for people under 31 are proportionately less, so if you are 23, you may be eligible even if you’ve only worked
a few years. Depending on financial need, you might also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income.
“Fault” or responsibility for the onset of your psychiatric disability is not an issue in SSD.
7. To be eligible for SSI, you must either be over 65 and impoverished or… be disabled and impoverished. Generally, if you are eligible
for welfare, you are eligible for SSI.
In states without welfare, you must either have no income or income that puts you below the federal poverty level, and little or no
You can go to your local Social Security office and apply for disability in person. Although you can now apply for SSD online you cannot
yet apply for SSI that way.
8. When applying, make sure you don’t omit anything or give the wrong answers to tricky questions. You must accurately state
the information Social Security needs. To be absolutely safe, the best way to apply is to contact us and let us apply for you.
You can hire us at any stage. We will file the application for you, but if we don’t, we can pick up your case at any time throughout the
The more time you give us to work your case, though, the better chance you have of winning. Our fee will be the same whether you give us
ample time to win… or you don’t.
We will need the following information. We can get some of this info for you:
• Social Security numbers and proof of age of each person applying for benefits including any children under 18 who might be
• Names, addresses, treatment dates and phone numbers of doctors, psychologists, counselors, hospitals, clinics and other
institutions that have treated you and are currently doing so, as long as this information relates to your psychological disability.
• Names of all medications.
• Medical reports you already have from your doctors, psychologists, therapists, hospitals, or clinics.
• A complete work history including who you worked for, what type of job you performed, and what were the physical and emotional
demands of that job.
9. Generally you have 60 days to appeal any denial of benefits. You can appeal a denial either in person or by mail. If you do so by mail,
do it using certified mail so no one can dispute that you filed on time. Of course, if you are our client, we would file the appeal for
10. There are at least four stages of the application process:
During the initial application stage, you have 60 days to appeal after any denial. Most people are denied at this stage.
After a second stage denial, you will have 60 days in which to appeal it.
The third stage is very critical because it is the hearing stage. This is where you meet an Administrative Law Judge.
If you are denied at this hearing, you have another 60 days to appeal to the Appeals Council. If you lose at the Appeals Council, you
have the right to file in federal court, though generally that is extremely difficult and cannot be done realistically without an experienced
11. It is generally better to appeal rather than to re-file.
If you file again, you may not get as many benefits as you might had you appealed. In some cases, however, you may want to do both, especially if
there is some new medical data that makes your case stronger.
The best cases are those where the medical and psychological evidence is extremely strong. In particular, the strongest cases usually
include narrative reports by your psychologists and psychiatrists.
12. For SSD, you must also meet the “insured test.” However, many people whose insured status has expired because they
haven’t worked recently can get SSI if they can prove a recent disability.
13. You can also get disability and not SSI. Frequently a person’s SSD monthly benefit is too high to be eligible for additional
SSI benefits (remember it is called “Supplemental Security Income”).
If you are not impoverished, you are never eligible for SSI, even if you are psychiatrically disabled. However, many people can receive
both. The definition of “disability” and the appeals process is the same for SSI and for SSD.
14. We are psychiatric Social Security Disability experts. We are the only disability advocates in the country that specialize in
psychiatric and psychological disabilities. We have a team of highly trained psychologists and attorneys who work on these cases. It’s very
unlikely that any lawyer, local representative or other private advocate has the specialized mental health expertise to fight the government in
these mental health and psychiatric cases as well as we can.
15. Our fee is usually 25% of the past-due benefits but we only get paid if we are successful. In most cases, our fee is capped at
$5300. This cap is set by the government and is always subject to change. We will send you a letter outlining the details of our inexpensive